HIVE IT: Archive to AR Immersive Storytelling
Sheffield-based Hive IT are an innovative digital agency who specialise in user experience design and software development. Working in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and the National Railway Museum, Hive IT explored how archived content could be more engaging and accessible by using immersive technology.
The project team developed an advanced prototype for a story-driven augmented reality mobile experience, that enabled users to engage with railway content from the mid 20th century. Archived content from the National Railway Museum was used to create a historically accurate, immersive in-train experience to engage aspiring visitors and audiences. The technical skills and marketing expertise at Hive IT, storytelling researchers at the University of Sheffield, and archivists at the National Railway Museum collaborated to take the concept into development and testing.
The project successfully explored leading-edge immersive technology to deliver new forms of access to cultural heritage. This included opportunities for the National Railway Museum to tell stories and showcase its extensive archive of artefacts directly to people on railway journeys through their smartphones.
Jonny Rippon, managing directory and industry partner on this project, says:
“We wanted to explore the possibility of turning museum archives ‘inside-out’. Working with our project partners, the University of Sheffield and the National Railway Museum, we explored the technical and process challenges faced by museums to make the best use of their archived content.
The collaboration has enabled us to identify the prospect of a repeatable and commercially scalable process for using museum archives in the production of immersive storytelling experiences. This includes the creation of a technical production process that inputs archive content and outputs a digital product.”